Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives in General Court assembled, and by the authority of the same, as follows:
SECTION 1. A person who holds an elected office in the town of Bernardston, with more than 6 months remaining in the term of that office on the date of the filing of a recall affidavit, referred to in section 2, may be recalled from office by the registered voters of the town of Bernardston, in the manner herein provided.
SECTION 2. Fifty or more voters of the town of Bernardston may file with the clerk of the town an affidavit containing the name of the officer whose recall is being sought, along with a statement of the grounds for removal. The clerk of the town shall provide to the voters, petition blanks demanding the recall, printed forms of which shall be kept available by the clerk. The petition blanks may be completed either by writing or typewriting, shall be addressed to the board of selectmen, shall contain the names of the voters who filed the affidavit and the grounds for recall as stated in the affidavit; they shall demand the election of a successor to that office; and shall be dated and signed by the clerk. A copy of the petition shall be kept on file in the office of the clerk in a record book maintained for the purpose.
The recall petition shall be returned and filed in the office of the clerk within 14 days following the date upon which the clerk issued such petitions; they shall contain the signatures of at least 10 per cent of the total number of voters duly recorded on the registration list of the clerk as of the most recent preceding town election.
The clerk shall, within 48 hours following the filing, submit the petition to the registrars of voters who shall, within 5 days, certify thereon the number of signatures which in fact are names of voters of the town.
SECTION 3. If the recall petition shall be certified by the registrars of voters to contain the sufficient number of voters, the clerk of the town shall forthwith submit the petitions to the board of selectmen. Upon its receipt of the certified petitions, the board of selectmen shall, within 48 hours, give written notice of the recall petitions and the certification thereon to the person whose recall is being sought.
If the officer sought to be recalled does not resign his office within 5 days following the delivery of the notice, the board of selectmen shall order an election to be held not less than 65 nor more than 90 days after the date of certification of the sufficiency of the petition by the registrars of voters; but if another town election is to occur within 100 days after the date of the certification, the board of selectmen may, at their discretion, postpone the holding of the recall election until the date of such other town election.
If a vacancy occurs in the office after a recall election has been ordered, the election shall nevertheless proceed as provided in this section; but only the ballots for the new candidates shall be counted.
SECTION 4. An officer whose recall is being sought shall not be a candidate to succeed himself at the recall election. The nomination of candidates, the publication of the warrant for the recall election and the conduct of the election shall be in accordance with the law relative to elections, unless otherwise provided in this act.
SECTION 5. The incumbent shall continue to perform the duties of his office until the recall election is held. If not recalled in the election, the incumbent shall continue in office for the remainder of his unexpired term, subject to recall as before, except as provided therein.
If the incumbent officer is recalled he shall be deemed removed upon the qualification of a successor who shall hold office for the remainder of the unexpired term; but if the successor fails to qualify within 5 days after receiving notification of election, the incumbent nevertheless shall thereupon be removed and the office shall remain vacant for the remainder of the unexpired term.
SECTION 6. All ballots used at a recall election shall contain the following propositions in the order indicated:
FOR THE RECALL OF (NAME OF OFFICER)
AGAINST THE RECALL OF (NAME OF OFFICER)
Adjacent to each proposition, there shall be a place to mark a vote.
After the propositions shall appear the word "CANDIDATES" followed by the name of all candidates arranged alphabetically by surname. Adjacent to the name of each candidate shall be a place to mark a vote.
If a majority of the votes cast upon the question of recall are in the affirmative, the candidate receiving the highest number of votes shall be deemed elected.
If a majority of the votes cast upon the question of recall are in the negative, the ballots for the candidates need not be counted unless the incumbent officer has previously resigned from office pursuant to section 3.
SECTION 7. A recall petition shall not be filed against an officer within 6 months of the assumption of his office. In the case of an officer who has been subjected to a recall election and was not recalled thereby, a subsequent recall petition shall not be filed against the officer until at least 6 months after the date of the election at which the initial recall was voted upon.
SECTION 8. A person who has been recalled from an office or who has resigned from an office while recall proceedings were pending, shall not be appointed to any town office within 12 months after the recall or resignation.
SECTION 9. This act shall take effect upon its passage.